The 3rd Infantry Regiment was originally formed following the Revolutionary War as the First American Regiment in 1784—but it would not have its own distinctive unit insignia until 1959. While most people see a hat when the look at the insignia, its nickname—“cockade”—actually refers to the device attached to the hat, and is derived from the French word “cocarde.”

When the 3rd Infantry Regiment was stationed at Fort Snelling in Minnesota in the 1920s, keeping up esprit de corps was a bit difficult following the all-out effort of the Great War. In a move intended to stir patriotism, the Regiment’s commanders established a color guard, with two veterans serving as color bearers but dressed in uniforms of the Continental Army—complete with the “cocked” (or, more accurately “cockaded”) hat. These hats became the basis for the 3rd Infantry Regiment’s Regimental Distinctive Insignia, or unit crest (it is also found as the crest on the Regiment’s coat of arms).

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